Tokyo says signing peace treaty with Russia will take some time

Wed 23 Jan 2019 08:33 GMT | 12:33 Local Time

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Signing a peace treaty between Japan and Russia is not an easy problem that can be solved just after several rounds of talks, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday, TASS reports.

"This is not such an easy problem, which can be solved immediately after several rounds of negotiations," Suga stressed, signaling that concluding a peace treaty with Russia will take certain time.

In comments on Tuesday’s meeting in Moscow between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, he emphasized that the two leaders managed to "hold constructive talks on various spheres" of bilateral relations. "We believe that this was an excellent start of 2019 for Japanese-Russian [relations]," he noted.

Putin and Abe held talks in Moscow on Tuesday, which became their 25th meeting, and confirmed their intention to establish and develop mutually beneficial relations. The talks, which lasted for more than three hours, were held in a very business-like and constructive atmosphere, traditionally focusing on the prospects of extending trade and investment ties, Putin said.

One of priority issues discussed at the talks was the signing of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan. The Russian leader confirmed Moscow’s intention to build the negotiation process on this issue based on the Soviet-Japanese declaration signed in 1956.

For decades, Moscow and Tokyo have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II. The main stumbling block is the status of the Southern part of the Kuril Islands. After World War II, the whole archipelago became part of the Soviet Union. However, Tokyo disputes Russian claims over Iturup, Kunashir and Shikotan islands as well as a number of smaller uninhabited islands called the Habomai Islands in Japan. Moscow has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands cannot be called into question.

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